Caine Monroy has been welcoming crowds to his father’s auto parts store in Boyle Heights for the last year, since a movie about his summer project went viral, viewed by more than 7 million people.
Now, he’s getting ready for what may be one of the biggest days yet at his cardboard arcade. On Saturday, Caine will host a Global Day of Play.
Dozens of volunteers are getting the games ready for youngsters, adults and even celebrities – actor Jack Black has visited the cardboard arcade with his kids – to play in Los Angeles, and others around the world will show off their own creations.
"There's over 250 Cardboard Challenge events in 40 countries and counting," said filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, whose video on Caine’s Arcade helped catapult the 10-year-old to international notoriety.
Mullick made the film about Caine after visiting the Smart Parts Aftermarket auto shop in search of a door handle for his car. What he found were the self-engineered games Caine developed last summer.
Mullick also started the Imagination Foundation, which is kicking off the main party on Mission Street this weekend. The foundation began as a way to encourage and foster creativity in kids.
"There's going to be hundreds of kids from local schools that are building games, and bringing games that they've made," Mullick said.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is also expected to attend.
"It's been really inspiring to see how much can be done, not only with cardboard, but with volunteers and people from communities all over the world all coming together," he said.
Caine said he has the same focus.
"I get to meet a lot of people," he said, "and I'm going to be playing a lot of arcade games."
Caine’s story is one of that highlights the power of imagination. Nearly $220,000 in donations has poured in from people who fell in love with Caine's world, and donations are still being accepted at the Caine Arcade and the Imagination Foundation website. All the money will go to Caine's college scholarship fund.